Horry County Police Department names new police chief

Horry County Police Department names new police chief

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - After a national search, Horry County Police has named Joseph Hill, a 28-year member of the Fairfax County Police Department in Virginia, as the next Chief of Police.

Hill is scheduled to begin his employment with Horry County on Monday, Sept. 26, according to a news release from the police department.

His annual salary is $130,000, according to information from Lisa Bourcier, Horry County spokesperson.

"Horry County is extremely fortunate to have Joe join our team as he comes with a wealth of experience, is a strong and respected leader, and has a passion for community engagement and community problem solving to reduce crime and the fear of crime," stated Horry County Administrator Chris Eldridge.

Hill worked his way at the Fairfax County Police Department from patrol officer to the rank of major, the release states. He assisted supervision of a $184 million budget with 1,377 sworn officers and over 200 civilian staff.

Hill already has several plans for when he arrives in Horry County. Starting with the department, he says he wants the men and women there to know he stands with them but also didn't ignore the SLED investigations into the department.

"You have great officers in Horry County. They are professional. You just have a few that have made poor decisions... they shouldn't wear the badge of Horry County PD or any other badge in my opinion and they will go away," Hill said.

Hill describes himself as an inclusive leader.

"If they do what they are supposed to do - pay attention to the needs of the community, engage the community in a positive matter and just maintain their ethics and morals based on the culture of the community - then they will have my full support," Hill said.

He also addressed the flip side to that coin.

"They need to be accountable to me. I need to be accountable to them and the community," he said. "If they don't do what they are supposed to do, they need to find some place else to work. But for the folks who do what they are supposed to do and be great cops - and you guys have a lot of great cops down there - we're going to have a good time."

Hill said he loves problem solving, and looks forward to building community trust in Horry County.

"Know that we're in this together," he said. "Show support for the community so they know they can trust the police because we have a lot of folks in that community who trust the police but they really don't understand what's going on and why some of the things that have happened with the SLED investigation are going on in their professional police department.  Well, we're going to deal with that, and it's going to be behind us and moving forward we are going to be a great police department."

Hill believes this is the perfect fit for him and his family, and he is excited to get to know the men and women of Horry County. His goal is for the entire police department to become the officers the community deserves.

"Because I love what I do, I love the profession. The profession is under fire right now. Literally and figuratively, and I just want to make sure to ... you know, I do everything I can to work with my community to make sure they know you have good guardians out here that are doing good work," he said.

Horry County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus described Hill as, "the best of the best."

"His commitment to serve and protect has been echoed throughout his distinguished career in Virginia and by the very citizens he has served," Lazarus said. "I encourage the community to embrace him and once you meet him, there will be no doubt he is the right person for the job."

Hill is replacing former Chief of Police Saundra Rhodes, who retired from HCPD on May 6, 2016 amid several investigations into employees and former employees with the department. She is now in the running for a Chief of Police job in Statesboro, Georgia.

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